A super over can only mean one thing: a tied match. And tied matches tend to have thrilling finishes. The kind of finishes that only the T20 format can conjure.
Delhi Capitals won, and Kings XI Punjab ran them close at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. In fact, Punjab should have won but for two incidents. But before that let’s closely look at the second match of the Indian Premier League.
Barring the stellar performances of Marcus Stoinis for Delhi and Punjab’s Mayank Agarwal, it was a match of missed opportunities. None of the other batsmen tried to build an innings or attempt to bat deep into the innings. Put into bat, Delhi never really got going as Mohammed Shami extracted good bounce and later debutant leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi applied the brakes with a good spell.
If it was not for Stoinis’ late fireworks, Delhi would not have crossed 150. In the end, 157 was fighting total. And that looked formidable when Punjab slumped to 55 for five. But Agarwal, who watched the wickets scatter around him, upped the tempo first in the company of Gowtham and later with Chris Jordan.
That’s when two game-changing events occurred. With 9 balls left, a short run was called when Jordan ran two. When a match is tied, a short tun assumes significance. It was a wrong call. There was no short run. Which means Punjab would have won.
The second incident happened when Agarwal was smashing everything in sight. When the scores were tied with two balls left, Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer brought the field up to deny a single. And Agarwal’s bid to end the match in a blaze of glory came to grief as his searing shot found the only player in the outfield, the sweeper cover. All Agarwal had to do was to dab the ball away for a single, but even the best of players suffer brain freeze in high-wire situations. This was one.
Punjab gifted the super over the moment Agarwal didn’t come into bat. Kagiso Rabada is a master of super overs. Two wickets in three balls, and a total of three was the lowest in a super over. Delhi couldn’t have thrown it away, even if they wanted to. A tame end to a match filled with high-voltage drama.